Challenges of Indian Agriculture

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India is a large country with a population of approximately 1.3 billion. To satisfy the enormous dietary needs, extensive food production is required.

India possesses the second largest position in the agricultural sector globally after the United States, and also is the second largest in crop production after China. In 2016, the GDP related to agriculture was 244 billion Dollars (approx 26 trillion Yen), and the agriculture is known as a gigantic industry with a growth of 6.6% within a year. In the period from the year 2000 to 2014, the growth has been extended more than 3.5 times, with the backing of the agricultural policies of the government.

In addition to raising the standards, various supports have been provided in the budget, such as, allocation of fund for irrigation and dairy product network, and subsidizing interest rates on farmer’s loan etc.

However, actually it is being said that, still, there is a harvesting of only 50-60% from the agricultural land’s potential. The fact is, computerization, the introduction of high-quality seeds, irrigation technology, soil improvement, logistics system, etc are also the challenges in the agricultural sector. An average income of Indian farmer is 100 dollar/month, and it is quite lower than the average of the total population of India. Challenges like increasing the income of the farmer and education about agriculture are also there.

Many more Agro-Tech ventures were started aiming at the farming business of India, which is a blend of challenges and opportunities. Popularity of reasonably-priced smart-phones has led to a dramatic fall in data-communication cost which enables the system to reform the Agricultural sector by using latest technologies.

Among others, CropIn is a leading enterprise, based in south Bangalore. CropIn offered “Agriculture Cloud Platform” through the internet to the Producer (farmer) and the purchaser (major food company globally or the Exporter, Aggregator- the product buyer).

CropIn provided smart-phone application to the farmers, which manages growth conditions of the crop, and saves production record by letting them record local information and photographs of products like rice, potato, wheat, cotton etc. Purchasers observe growth condition of producing area or crops of each farmer on real-time basis for using it in estimating production, quality control, crisis management, traceability (trace of production record). It is for digitizing agricultural production.

This service was introduced to 5 lakhs farm families, and the purchasers have increased to 120 enterprises, including tobacco giant American company Philip-Morris International,  confectionery giant American company Mars, other international companies, Indian conglomerate (group of companies run as a single organization) Mahindra group. Companies of the other part of the world are really excited because they can observe farm production of Indian villages through real-time by using latest mobile technology.

CropIn combines data of agricultural land and crops which were collected from their own system, with the external data like satellite and regional climatic report, and analyzes real-time data by AI (artificial intelligence) engine. This company also carries out maximizing the harvest of per unit area or agricultural land ranking, fixing the amount of fertilizer to be used, calculation of climatic data. Someday, offering Finance services (loan or insurance of agricultural equipment, finance on fertilizer and seeds, etc) to the farmer is their future strategy.

When Indian agriculture and such latest information technologies combine with data, the 2nd green revolution, Green Data Revolution may take place.

Source: Nikkei, August 24, 2017

About Wamika varma

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